Andrew Wojtanik

Political Science
Research interests: 

Elite Cohesion and Decision-Making in Africa and Beyond

Abstract:  Why do some African regimes have unified ruling elites while others are fractious and prone to collapse? Challenging prevailing views that suggest patronage spoils or institutions such as autocratic parties induce elite cohesion, I argue that regimes with ruling elites who share historical bonds of fellowship—such as a common identity or shared past—will develop more durable networks than those reliant on money or fear to discipline elites. Moreover, ruling elites may congeal around charismatic, popular, and symbolic leader figures who succeed in establishing themselves as the inevitable, unchallengeable ruler in the eyes of ruling elites—such that disobeying the leader would be “political suicide.” Drawing on an original dataset on individual elites, archival materials, and firsthand interviews with former ministers, party brokers, and other government officials in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, I trace how cohesion emerges and changes over time.